EVERY Londoner thinks he or she knows the best Indian restaurant in the capital.
Over the last decade, Indian cuisine has fast become a staple part of the British diet, with many Indian dishes making their way into the most-eaten category.
Yet, most people rarely venture beyond their favourite local to try different restaurants.
I am guilty of this myself, so I went along to Mehfil Restaurant in Southall, to try out something different and experience their take on North Indian cuisine.
I went on a Monday evening and, despite being the beginning of the working week, the restaurant was busy with tables of families and couples.
The restaurant is part of the Mehfil Hotel and has been in Southall for 11 years.
The restaurant itself is large and airy, yet the décor doesn’t quite reflect the friendly personality of the place or the delicious food. However, don’t let that put you off!
As soon as you step through the door, staff are on hand to make sure every whim is catered for. They are so friendly it creates an instant welcoming atmosphere.
While we perused the menu, we had poppadoms (£0.60) with three different dipping sauces. Not usually one for intensely spicy food, the combination of yogurt and an intensely spicy dip provided a surprisingly appetizing appetizer.
For starters, I had the sheesh kebab (£7.00), which had been prepared with spices, ginger and garlic and was served on a hot plate with onion and herbs.
Though I normally overlook starters in an Indian restaurant, the lamb kebabs were just the right size to whet my appetite, and the combination of spices meant the starter went down a treat.
My boyfriend, Tim, had the much recommended Papri Chat (£5.00).
Though the presentation was not as fantastic as the taste, the different flavours of bean sprouts, chickpeas, pomegranate, bhalle, spiced potatoes and crispy papri, topped with tempered yogurt and tamarind, more than made up for it.
There are 17 starters, with nine vegetarian and eight meat options.
For the mains, I opted for a simple chicken curry (£8.00), which was cooked to perfection.
The chicken was slow-cooked and, as a result, melted in my mouth while the sauce was a fantastic mix of spices.
Combined with garlic naan and pilau rice, it blended well.
Tim had the Shahjahni Qorma (£9.50), which consisted of marinated lamb in a saffron cream sauce.
Both curries were presented beautifully in mini cookers that we could ladle out in quantities of our own choice.
There is a huge choice of 22 main dishes, as well as an accompaniments section.
Mehfil is a friendly, local Indian restaurant that offers genuine North Indian cuisine. With fantastic staff and a huge menu, the restaurant did not disappoint.
Mehfil, 45 The Green, Southall (close to rail station).
Go to http://mehfil.co.uk/index.php/restaurant